NHL Commissioner To Meet With Ottawa’s Mayor To Discussion Senators Future

The team is up for sale.

National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman along with the deputy commissioner Bill Daly have scheduled a meeting with Ottawa Mayor Mark Sutcliffe to discuss the future of the Ottawa Senators franchise in that city. The team plays in Kanata but there has been talk that a Senators arena could be built in the downtown area of the Canadian capital. Some facts first, the Senators business is up for sale and the league is going through its due diligence in helping the Melnyk family get the correct buyer for the franchise. The Melnyk family is selling the business following the death of the Senators owner Eugene Melnyk in 2022. To complicate matters, the Melnyk family has some sort of understanding that it will be able to build an arena in the LeBreton Flats part of Ottawa. But there is no guarantee that the new Senators ownership group will follow up on the LeBreton Flats plan. What Bettman and Daly will do is explain the league’s position on the possibility of bringing the team to downtown Ottawa. But if they ask for money to help build an arena, Mayor Sutcliffe is not going to provide public funding, at least not yet.

Sutcliffe said, “I don’t think there’s a lot of public appetite for taxpayers’ dollars to go into an arena. So, I don’t see that happening. But again, I don’t want to rule anything out because there is no deal on the table. We don’t know who the new owners are. We don’t even know where they are going to build an arena, if they are going to build an arena.” There seems to be six groups in the running to buy the team. Bettman has said the sale of the team is not connected to the LeBreton Flats proposal. The league is committed to keeping the team in Ottawa.

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FILE – In this Dec. 4, 2018, file photo, National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman .(AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton, File)